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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Teaching them to Speak!

Statistics show that most people would rather jump from an airplane than speak in public. Even more astronishing, the fear of speaking is greater than the fear of death. Most Americans, most people in the world, prefer death over speaking to a crowd! Only five percent are capable and willing to take the platform. Only five percent have the confidence to speak to an audience. So, the question is: who are those five percent? Why are those five percent ready, willing and able to take the platform? Who also, will those five percent be when our children reach adulthood? Will they be made up of dynamic men and women who taking up the liberal agenda? Will it be eloquent “free-thinkers” stirring up the crowds to believe their unsupported gibberish? Or will it be those who have a message? A true message. The Message. Will the five percent be people offering hope and light to a world that is desperately looking for answers? If faith comes by hearing the Word of God, shouldn’t those who have the Word of God be trained to speak to those who are listening? Remember, no matter what your children do when they become adults, they will be required to communicate. Almost every one of them will be asked, at one time or another, to stand in front of an audience and speak. Frankly, no matter how much education a person has, the best communicators are the ones that lead the pack. My husband reported an interesting story to me last night. He plays in an adult church softball league. At the end of the final game, the umpire gathered the players together for a talk he was required to give - an invitation to accept Christ. The umpire told the two teams to meet him on the pitcher’s mound. He walked over to the gathering of men, and with shoulders hunched and eyes downcast, he nervously kicked the dirt. Then, sputtering out an apologetic, hesitant explanation, he gave the gospel message. His message was the most important one in the world, yet he made it seem like something to be embarrassed about. Although the message came through and was valuable, he lacked confidence and conviction. His fear of speaking overshadowed any certainty he may have felt about his walk with God. In the end, it’s the Holy Spirit that does the work in us. Yet those who can boldly and confidently proclaim the message reap rewards, such as those seen when Peter, Paul, and even Apollos proclaimed God’s Word to the crowds. Fear of public speaking. It is truly a handicap for Christians. Our children are bearing the image of Christ, and these little image bearers have a Message to give the world. Let us not fail to give them the tools they need to communicate this Message with confidence. Does it sound like speech might be a necessary subject to integrate into your homeschool? It’s true that speaking comes naturally for some, but confidence and eloquence comes through practice. Great speaking skills are rarely due to talent; great speaking skills are taught. An effective speaker will have a far greater influence on the world than a stammering bundle of nerves. So in the end, I believe the answer to the above question is: Yes. As a Christian with the Message of Life, teaching speech is necessary and even imperative in the homeschool classroom. We can and should train our children to be part of the five percent. If we all rise to the challenge, perhaps homeschooled Christians students will be that five percent. If we train them to be orators, we will find that these skills will advance them in their vocation and in their calling more than any amount of history, math, or Latin ever could. Let’s give them the Word of God first and foremost, and then train them to speak it with confidence.

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I have created a manual for people who want to teach speech in their co-op or begin a speech class with a group of homeschoolers. You can read about it here: http://www.jeanniefulbright.com/Speak_UP.html

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